Business / Industries

China protests over US steel duties

By DU JUAN (China Daily) Updated: 2016-05-19 08:17

China registered its "strong dissatisfaction" with the United States on Wednesday for imposing import duties of 522 percent on Chinese cold-rolled flat steel.

The Ministry of Commerce said it would fight for fair treatment for its steel companies through the World Trade Organization's settlement mechanism.

The US Commerce Department said on Tuesday that China's cold-rolled flat steel products were being sold in the US market below cost and with unfair subsidies.

The duties will increase by more than fivefold the import prices on Chinese made cold-rolled flat steel products, which brought in $272.3 million of sales there in 2015.

China's Ministry of Commerce said the US has adopted unfair practices during anti-dumping and anti-subsidies investigations on Chinese products, which severely harmed the rights of Chinese enterprises to formally defend themselves.

The ministry said that because the US refused to levy separate rates on Chinese State-owned enterprises, the companies were forced to give up on their response to the probe, which has resulted in high punitive taxes on steel products from China.

China urged the US to follow the WTO rules and correct its wrongdoings.

Cold-rolled steel is used in automotive body panels, appliances, shipping containers and construction.

Wei Zengmin, senior analyst with industrial information provider, said since last July when Washington began its anti-dumping probe investigation into the mainland's steel products, China's monthly steel exports to the US had reduced sharply from millions of tons to dozens of tons currently.

"The US has a plan to revive its manufacturing industry, but it should be done through technology upgrading instead of trade protection like this," Wei said.

He said the ruling will not affect Chinese steelmakers in the short term since their steel exports to the US market had already fallen to less than 1 percent of total steel exports.

"For cold-rolled flat steel, particularly, the monthly export from China to the US is around 60,000 tons, which is a drop in the ocean," he said.

But experts said the Chinese government and companies should be prepared for further talks with the US on the issue, taking the issue seriously, in case it spreads to other types of products.

"We cannot underestimate the case based on the volume involved. Even though it will not affect Chinese companies in the short term, it matters about whether Chinese companies have really dumped or received unfair subsidies or not," said Zhou Mi, senior research fellow at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation.

Any trade protection practice can trigger disputes between the two countries and lead to global trade war, he said.

China's Ministry of Finance said on Wednesday that it will maintain its tax rebate policy for steel exports as part of its efforts to help the sector tackle its longstanding overcapacity problems.

China protests over US steel duties


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